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Jos Willems & Karl Emil Knudsen

This photo is indeed KEK and I together in my garden. The individual (black hair) at the right is me.

Summer August 2003.

It must have been end 2000 or the first week of 2001 when Karl Emil personally called me on the phone with a request to – based on what I had already prepared – make him a completely new and updated Louis Armstrong discography to be published by his JazzMedia, but this time listing all releases without any restriction.

With Hans Westerberg’s preface in mind, about “Putting together Armstrong” that soon filled all his free time, I had a resolutely “no” in mind, but my heart said yes, and I have never since regretted my decision to accept the challenge.

Since then Karl Emil has sent me all he had from Louis, his own files and other’s, included Bob Hilbert’s, innumerable audio cassettes and CDs with unreleased material from his collection and a constant follow up of the progress that I had made.

Very sadly Karl Emil Knudsen passed away on September 5, 2003. His death was caused by a coronary thrombosis after only two weeks in hospital. Less than a month before his decease – August 2003 – Karl Emil had come especially from Denmark to Belgium. He and I were sitting in my garden where we discussed the publishing in the very near future of my Louis Armstrong discography.

We were aware that Karl Emil hadn't that strong Viking blood, but nobody had expected so a sudden death.

He was our father, our mentor, our friend and our "boss." What he has done for the world of Jazz without ever making big money is uncountable. That’s why my book - after a long search and a lot of luck, was eventually published in April 2006 by Scarecrow from Maryland, US. On the very first page of my book, it is dedicated to his memory.

We miss him so.


Jos Willems



All of Me the Complete Discography of Louis Armstrong.
Thanks to the help of Mona Granager and Dan Morgenstern.